There’s one way to enjoy a surreal and silly night out at the theatre - send in the clowns.

And who better for such inspired lunacy than multi-versatile Spymonkey.

They were last here in one their favourite cities with their spirited take on A Christmas Carol - a show that had many of the audience asking ‘what the Dickens is going on?’

The ‘International’ company are celebrating 20 years of supreme clowning and they have revisited one of their classics for a limited tour before taking it to America where it will be re-branded as Hysteria.

Here in Blighty it remains as Cooped - but always hysterical from a quirky quartet of performers who can sing, dance - in fact, rise to anything.

We meet Laura a dizzy, mini-skirted orphan girl from the swinging 60s (Petra Massey who arrives for a job with the upper-crust Forbes Murdston ( Toby Park) in Northumberlandshirehampton.

There’s the now compulsory oddball butler here it’s eerily expressive, kooky Klaus (Stephan Kreiss) and a wig-wearing detective who looks remarkably like a spooky solicitor, Spanish soap star and a barmy bishop (Aitor Basauri).

It’s billed as Psycho meets Pink Panther but there’s plenty of Pythonesque-styled references to so many other genres.

This is a play with music, gags, magic tricks and a whodunnit plot with a twist . It is split into a frantic first 55 minute half and an equally energetic part two of 35 minutes duration.

Maybe an unbroken 80 minutes would have kept the momentum rocking along even more at its raucous, roller- coaster pace.

That said, there’s always so much happening throughout from the use of props, sight gags and a plethora of puns as well as bizarre dream sequences.

There’s a Spinners folk song parody, a full-frontal dance, gun shots, a nod to silent comedy in a dubious Good Samaritan sequence and a nutty mad monks sketch. Phew!

Lashing of physical humour are to be enjoyed along with a flock of mechanical pheasants and a bad-tempered horse.

Much-in-demand director Cal McCrystal keeps the mayhem under control even though it is like watching the Marx Brothers discover a thriller script and decide to act it out.

The fourth wall of theatre is demolished early on.

So if you feel like getting cooped up in the crazy confines of the Playhouse with the undoubted skills of Spymonkey this is most definitely for you.

Four stars - Wonderfully Wacky!

Cooped on at the Liverpool Playhouse until Saturday, June 8.

Tickets are available via the box office on 0151 709 4776.